The State of the Dallas restaurant scene

It has been an unusual year in the food world, and DFW is certainly no different.
It has been an unusual year in the food world, and DFW is certainly no different.

By Steven Doyle

Last year brought us some beautiful new restaurants such as Gemma, that amazing New American-style restaurant open until 1 a.m. nearly every night of the week; Knife, Dallas’ brightest new steakhouse run by John Tesar and featuring a crazy-good 240-day aged ribeye (more on Knife in this issue); The Blind Butcher, one of our very favorite eclectic bars on Greenville Avenue featuring homemade sausages and duck poutine to name a few dishes; Bishop Art’s Stock and Barrel for amazing grilled features; and CBD Provisions located inside the Joule – one of the best places to order an enormous pig head accompanied with a stack of freshly pressed tortillas.

This year also has seen some terrific successes open in Dallas. We will be seeing more restaurants in several key areas including the Design District, Lowest Greenville Avenue, Downtown at the Farmers Market, and a refreshing new area in West Dallas called Sylvan | Thirty, which is located, well, on Sylvan near I-30.

So far a ramen restaurant simply named Ten has opened, setting off a fresh battle for the top ramen title in Dallas. You will be seeing more ramen hotspots open in our city very soon, rounding up the ramen count considerably, and hopefully catching us up on that trend which has been waning a bit in other large cities across the country.

Ten already has been enjoying a modicum of success, and is no doubt the quirkiest restaurant in the city. Here you may find beautiful and large bowls of house-made ramen for a mere 10 dollars each. There is no seating, and no to-go bowls allowed. You will need to eat standing, or pull up a piece of cement outdoors. Ten also only takes cash. But all is forgiven because it is run by the same cheffy genius who operates Tei An, Teiichi Sakurai, and he can make a mean bowl of soup.

Since our last restaurant edition of The Blitz, we have suffered as a city when it comes to high-end seafood, with the losses of Tesar’s Spoon and Driftwood in Oak Cliff. We still have some wonderful choices if you happen to be a pescetrarian or seafood aficionado. Look towards East Dallas for a restaurant called 20 Feet Seafood which not only has amazing fresh seafood choices, but also a bowl of pork ramen for an aha moment.

We still love TJ’s Seafood Market on Oak Lawn, and this past year the folks there have opened a second and extremely larger location on Preston and Royal. Sit and eat freshly-prepared dishes, or peruse the case for fresh catches to take and make at home. Rex’s Seafood on Lovers Lane also is expanding to the Dallas Farmers Market and another space in East Dallas for total seafood domination.

Beef has been having a great year so far. Certainly with the aforementioned Knife, with all of its glorious beefy options, but also the many more burger spots that now avail themselves to the burger-loving public (which apparently is all of us).

The most interesting of all the places offering beef has been Luscher’s Red Hots in Deep Ellum. Owned by Brian Luscher of The Grape, Luscher’s offers snappy, house-made, smoked hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs with pulled pork, home-made gyros, seriously good burgers, classic Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches and so much more. Consider this the place in Dallas to find insanely good meat on a budget. This also might be where you want to break up with your vegan girlfriend.

The Chicago-born Italian beef sandwich seems to be trending hard currently, not only with Luscher’s version, but also since Al’s #1 Italian Beef opened a location in Addison. Another iconic Chicago restaurant chain is making headway into North Texas with the addition of Gino’s East which will first appear in Arlington, then in Dallas and Fort Worth. For those unfamiliar, the Italian Beef is thin slices of beef wedged into a firm Italian roll, then soaked in a natural beef just for an incredible mouth full of beefy flavors.

It has been a fantastic year for those who hobby around in restaurants, dining their way through the latest trends and openings. We look forward to many more this year, and will certainly keep you informed in coming issues.